Three PureView Nokia's versus the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact (1)
The shop attendant quietly asked me what I was doing. He saw me shooting inside the enormous decoration store, filled with with flowers, plants and all kind of home decoration and furniture. I was working with no less than five different smartphones.
Much to my surprise, he was okay with it after I explained I run a blog about smartphone photography - "next time, just let us know, we'll give you something to wear so you won't be bothered anymore". Amazing.
Circumstances are close to ideal in a huge store like that, especially when there are not too many customers. It's light, but always dry (and warm). There is no wind. There's tons of stuff to see - it may not always be what it's like in real life (it's all gorgeous and clean), but it will give you lots of details to capture.
But the results I came home with were less amazing I have to admit. I was deeply frustrated to find that during the afternoon the lens of my Nokia Lumia 1020 had become a bit greasy, putting a film over most of my shots. Gosh! I'm writing this to let you know you should always (and I mean always) check your lens is clean. I felt like such a rookie! Also, it made a large part of my comparisons useless.
Since yesterday, I'm testing the new Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. To check its results, I'm comparing it with the three Nokia PureView flagships and the - also quite recent - Samsung Galaxy Note 3. This post will be about different resolutions, and in fact the series I'm going to present you is one of the few where I got more or less every shot I needed.
Xperia Z1 Compact: either 20MP or 8MP
This is because the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact will only shoot in 8MP, unless you put in on manual. On manual you'll be able to shoot in 20MP as well. If you choose the "Superior Auto" function, it will use oversampling, like Nokia's PureView tech - that's why you'll only get the 8MP result.
But with this Superior Auto setting, you can only shoot in 16:9 format. Using manual on the other hand, the full 20MP is only available in 4:3 format. You can choose for 16:9 in manual as well, but the result will be 8MP - and you can choose 4:3 in 8MP as well.
As far as I know, the Xperia still uses oversampling when shooting the smaller sizes on manual. Obviously, there will be no oversampling in the 20MP shots. But you can't have a smaller (16:9) sized shot without oversampling. And you can't shoot in 4:3 in Superior Auto.
It took me a while to figure it out (and write it down), since I find it a bit confusing. Must be since I'm used to all different possibilites on the Lumia PureView devices.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has a 13MP sensor. It will only give you maximum resolution on 4:3, which is logical. When you choose 16;9, you'll get a 9.6MP resolution.
There are smaller sizes too - and I suddenly realize I should have made my Galaxy shots on 8MP as well (4:3), to be able to compare those with Sony's and Nokia's 8MP results. Five different smartphones, so many different formats and possibilities - I'm sorry, but it's almost inevitable you'll forget one of them along the way.
From this scene I got a bunch of shots nevertheless.
Nokia 808 Pureview in 38MP, 8MP and 5MP
Nokia Lumia 1020 in Raw DNG, 38MP and 5MP
Nokia Lumia 1520 in Raw DNG, 19MP and 5MP
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact in 20MP and 8MP, and finally the
Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on 13MP.
Since this series of shots is (more or less) complete, in this first post I will focus on these shots only. You've seen some of the results above already.
The only smartphone missing is the Nokia Lumia 1520, from which I will share one of the results in this post as well. In case you haven't noticed: hover with your mouse over the shot to see which smartphone I used, click on it to see the original file on OneDrive.
Now I just made a few simple crops of these shots, focussing on the small vases a bit below the center of the shot. First, the crops I got from several of the 5MP resolutions (all from Nokia's PureView devices).
Next, two crops from the 8MP results, coming from the Nokia 808 PureView and Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Going to crops of the bigger sizes, first the one from the 13MP shots from Samsung's Galaxy Note 3.
The higher the resolution, the closer you'll "zoom in" when cropping the same size (ca. 640 x 630). These are the crops from the 19MP shot coming from the Nokia Lumia 1520 and the 20MP shot from the Sony Xperia Z1.
So far, I haven't shared any conclusion, but you'll see that in this case that Sony really misses the oversampling with the "high resolution" result.
Finally - just to be complete - the crops from the PureView flagships: 808 and 1020. Mind you, these are from both high resolution results, not the Raw .DNG files!
Of course, this is just one of many more pace I could have chosen to crop. You'll be able to crop your way into all these shots yourself, since I put them all on the all new OneDrive (register now and get 100GB free!)
You will find all resolutions, including the Raw .DNG files I got from both Nokia Lumia's. I don't trust myself with Lightroom yet, so I asked my PureView friend Peter Meijs (aka Pixel Peter) to develop these two files for me - you will find his results on OneDrive as well. I will share the resized versions below - Lumia 1520 first, 1020 second.
To complete my cropping, please do check out the crops I got from the two files Peter developed for me! I promise you will be amazed. Lumia 1520 first, next Lumia 1020.
In case you weren't convinced of the use of Raw .DNG files, I think you will be now... Just for comparison (and you don't need to scroll that much) I'll share the crops from the original highres results once more, so from the 808 and the 1020 both on 38MP high resolution.
It's simply amazing to see what you can achieve with Raw .DNG on the Lumia 1020! This is why you're able to surpass your results from the Nokia 808 PureView. You'll only have to learn to use the software...
Funny thing is that only now, writing this post, I actually notice the word "Pure" on the vases... I'm not kidding you, quite a coincidence I picked exactly that spot to crop - there must be higher forces at work here I guess...
I do have much more shots from the Xperia Z1 Compact, the Note 3, all PureView devices - but as you've learned already, I'm sorry I can't use quite a few from the 1020 since the lens got greasy.
Also, I didn't get all different formats and sizes in the other comparisons - you learn along the way I guess. But I will be sharing some more from this afternoon's results soon I hope - maybe even before I leave for Barcelona, to meet Nokia under a tree for one thing.
I'll write more about what it's like using the Xperia Z1 Compact as well, of course - I just have it. And I will be back in this huge decoration store as well, where much to my surprise they appear not to mind me making shots. Let me know what you think of the results, I promise you there will be more! For now, this will have to do.